What are the eating habits in Indonesia

Food in Indonesia: Typical dishes of Indonesian cuisine

The Food in Indonesia in my opinion is one of the tastiest kitchens in the world. Anyone planning a round trip through Indonesia or who is currently on the road will love the variety of Indonesian food - and maybe be a little overwhelmed. What exactly is behind the names of the Indonesian dishes? And which typical Indonesian dishes should you definitely try? Let yourself be inspired by the food in Indonesia and immerse yourself in the culinary diversity of the country.

Food in Indonesia

Before I introduce you to the most delicious food and the most typical dishes in Indonesia, I would like to familiarize you with the basics of Indonesian cuisine. What do you eat for breakfast in Indonesia? Where can you get authentic food in Indonesia? Do you eat with chopsticks here? And what about the hygienic conditions? These are all important questions that you may have asked yourself as part of your travel planning. I am going to give you not only typical food in Indonesia but also the Culture behind the diverse cuisine.

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Eating habits

Just like ours, Indonesians usually eat three meals a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. People tend to eat more here with spoon and fork. Knives are rather unusual at the table. There are exceptions in Java and Sumatra, where people eat with the right hand, which can be cleaned with lemon water in a small bowl. The Staple food is in Indonesia rice. It forms the basis of every meal. This is conjured up with sauces, side dishes such as meat, eggs in all variations, vegetables, tofu and spices for a wide variety of Indonesian dishes.

Already for breakfast there is rice on the table. Another popular morning dish is porridge. Toast is also often offered in tourist areas such as Bali. However, you will look in vain for bread, rolls and cold cuts in Indonesia. To the Noon and evening Indonesians prefer to get their food in a warung, at a night market or at one of the numerous food stalls that are set up on the side of the road.

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Food stalls & night markets

Since the street vendors usually specialize in certain dishes, only one or two different dishes are usually offered per cookshop. But it tastes particularly good and above all authentic! Indonesian night markets are like a huge gathering of several street vendors who sell their Indonesian food, desserts and drinks in one central place.

Night markets are also quite popular with backpackers, because the food, which is already very cheap in Indonesia, is mostly offered here at local prices. For one to two euros you can definitely get full here. Both in the food stalls and in the night markets Number of localswho get their food, a good quality criterion: the more locals, the better the food - both in terms of taste and hygienic conditions.

Typical dishes in Indonesia

Nasi Goreng / Mie Goreng

Nasi Goreng is probably one of the best-known dishes from all over Asia and has also advanced to become a popular dish in restaurants or to go in Germany. In Indonesia you can buy Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng on almost every street corner. The main ingredients are fried rice (Nasi) or fried noodles (Mie), soy sauce and egg. Both dishes are served in Indonesia with chicken or fish as standard prepared. The great thing is that Nasi Goreng always tastes a little different depending on the stand, restaurant and chef.
  • Price: approx. 1 euro / 15,800 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan possible

Photo: © Cahaya Images / Shutterstock.com

Nasi Campur

Those who like to put their own food together will love Nasi Campur. The German translation of this Indonesian dish - mixed rice - describes very well what Nasi Campur is. The focus of this meal is a serving of rice. You can do this with more ingredients according to yours own discretion complete. You usually have the choice between chicken, fish, tofu, tempeh or egg, which were fried in a mostly spicy sauce. Nasi Campur is mainly offered in warungs, at street vendors or at the so-called night markets.
  • Price: approx. 1 euro / 15,800 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan possible

Photo: © selinofoto / Shutterstock.com

Martabak Telur

Originally from the Arab region, the dish is now a popular Indonesian street food meal. This is a kind of omelet, that traditional with sheep meat, Onions and garlic are filled and then fried in plenty of oil. In Indonesia, however, have other variations, for example with minced lamb or chicken. For the sweet version, the omelette is filled with bananas and chocolate. Vegetarian Martabak Telur are also available in Indonesia, but since the dough is made of egg, vegans have to do without. Good to know: Another Indonesian dessert that has a similar name is martabak manis. However, this is a kind of pancake that is filled sweetly.
  • Price: around EUR 0.50 / IDR 8,000
  • Vegetarian possible
Photo: © Lili Aini / Shutterstock.com

Gado Gado

If you are vegetarian or vegan, the two sacred words that you should remember are: Gado Gado - a pretty tasty Indonesian dish that lives up to its name. Translated, “Gado Gado” means something like “mixed up” and in fact the combination of ingredients is quite a mess, albeit a very delicious one. To the Main ingredients include green boiled beans, bean sprouts, potatoes, boiled cabbage, deep-fried tempeh, and a thick peanut sauce. Sometimes a boiled egg is served with it. The price may vary depending on whether you order Gado Gado at a street stall or in a restaurant. Sometimes Gado Gado is served without rice. You can and should simply order these cheaply.
  • Price: approx. 1 - 3 euros / 15,000. - IDR 47,500
  • Vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Kare Tahu / Kare Tempeh

Another extremely tasty one vegetarian national dish from Indonesia are Kare Tahu or Kare Tempeh. Kare is the Indonesian version of one Curries, which is usually prepared with lots of vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers, beans and potatoes, as well as tofu or tempeh. A portion of rice is served with the curry as standard. For the ultimate taste, I recommend adding the rice in portions to the bowl with the curry. This is how the locals like to eat their Kare best - and it tastes best too.
  • Price: approx. 1 - 3 euros / 15,000. - IDR 47,500
  • Vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © Ariyani Tedjo / Shutterstock.com


Anyone who thinks that it is too hot for soup in Indonesia will now be taught better. Bakso is a typical Indonesian food and consists primarily of meatballs floating in a soup. In terms of taste, Bakso is reminiscent of one strong chicken soup. The meatballs often consist of chicken or different types of meat that are mixed together. Locals like to refine their bakso with different sauces and like to mix soy sauce or sambal into the broth. It's best to try for yourself which combination tastes best for you.
  • Price: approx. 0.70 euros / 11,000 IDR
  • Not vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

Lalapan Ayam

The only thing vegetarian about this dish is its side dishes. As the name suggests, Lalapan Ayam is about chicken. It is served grilled, either as a leg or a leg. Typical side dishes are rice, green boiled beans, fresh cucumber and tomato slices and sambal for the seasoning. Sometimes fried tempeh is also served.
  • Price: around 1.20 euros / 18,000 IDR
  • Not vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © kusjunianto / Shutterstock.com

Nasi Uduk

Nasi Uduk describes a special way of preparing rice that originally comes from Jakarta. The uncooked rice is soaked in coconut milk and then steamed together with garlic, lemongrass, cinnamon and pandan leaves (a type of palm). This gives the rice a particularly spicy aroma. Nasi Uduk makes that Basis of many dishes, such as the Indonesian specialty Nasi Lemak Telur, and in Warungs it is often served as an accompaniment to tempeh, omelette or meat.
  • Price: around 0.60 euros / 10,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © Novian Fazli / Shutterstock.com


Pangsit is not so much an Indonesian dish as it is ingredientwhich is typical of Indonesian food. These are small, crispy dumplingsstuffed with meat or vegetables. However, they are probably better known under the name Wan Tan. Originally they come from China and are also offered in Germany in restaurants and snack bars with Chinese cuisine. In Indonesia they are served either as a filler in a spicy soup or deep-fried as pangsit goreng.
  • Price: approx. 0.90 euros / 14,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan possible (ask about the dough)

Photo: © Akhmad Dody Firmansyah / Shutterstock.com

Soto Ayam

Another Soup classics of Indonesian cuisine is Soto Ayam. In addition to chicken, the main ingredients are tomato pieces, spring onions and vermicelli. The special yellow color of the soup is created by the spice turmeric. The juice of half a lime, which you can add to the soup as you like, ensures a fresh taste. Other variations are prepared with boiled egg, deep-fried potatoes or coconut milk. A bowl of rice is traditionally served with Soto Ayam. If you want to take an example from the locals, you can pour a portion of rice directly into the soup.
  • Price: around 1.40 euros / 22,000 IDR
  • Not vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Nasi Pecel

Nasi Pecel is a typical Indonesian salad that originated in Java. The salad consists of special green vegetables such as water spinach, asparagus beans and cassava leaves. The salad is usually complemented with a boiled egg, tofu, tempeh, sambal, a portion of rice and the pecel, a special peanut sauce that is reminiscent of Gado-Gado in taste.
  • Price: around 0.60 euros / 10,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan (without egg)

Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Nasi Lemak Telur

Nasi Lemak originally comes from Malaysia. In Indonesia, the rice is traditionally served with a boiled or deep-fried egg, sambal, roasted peanuts, fresh cucumber and tomato slices and deep-fried anchovies. The small fish are completely fried, i.e. with their heads and tails, and also eaten. Nasi Lemak Telur is a typical street food dish in Indonesia.
  • Price: around 0.80 euros / 13,000 IDR
  • Not vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © Ryan Wijaya Tan / Shutterstock.com

Mie Godog

Many Indonesian specialties include rice as the main ingredient. Anyone who is on the road for longer in Indonesia can understandably get too monotonous in the long run. Anyone who can no longer see rice will find the dish Mie Godog, which originally came from Java, a welcome addition to the menu. The main ingredients are here Mie noodles. These are usually served in a broth with fried vegetables. Sometimes crab chips are served, which you should cancel for the vegetarian version.
  • Price: around 0.60 euros / 9,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan (without crab chips)

Photo: © Ariyani Tedjo / Shutterstock.com


Karedok is an Indonesian salad that originated in West Java and is made from cabbage, green beans, cucumber, and bean sprouts. In principle, this is a raw version of Gado-Gadobecause the ingredients are not cooked. All ingredients are mixed in a peanut sauce and served cold.
  • Price: approx. 1 euro / 15,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan

Photo: © Ariyani Tedjo / Shutterstock.com

Sate Ayam

Like Nasi Goreng, sate skewers are now known and loved beyond the Asian borders. However, many swear by it that Indonesia has the best sate skewers! The main ingredients are simple: fried chicken style meets a delicious peanut sauce. Variations of the sate skewers are for example with Goat meat or, in non-Muslim regions, pork. On some Indonesian islands, such as Bali, a vegetarian version is often offered that consists of fried tempeh or tofu consists.
  • Price: approx. 1 euro / 15,800 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan possible

Photo: © bonchan / Shutterstock.com


Rendang is a kind goulash, which, like our German counterpart, based on the original recipe beef is prepared. Other main ingredients are jackfruit, cassava and sambal, which are cooked in coconut milk for several hours with numerous spices, including ginger, turmeric, coriander and cumin. This creates a kind of curry that is served as a complete dish with rice.
  • Price: around 1.90 euros / 30,000 IDR
  • Not vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © YSK1 / Shutterstock.com

Kwetiau Rebus

Another one Pasta dish of Indonesian cuisine is Kwetiau Rebus. Kwetiau is the name of the noodles, which incidentally - ironically - are made from rice flour. The addition “rebus” simply means “cooked”. There are different dishes in which the pasta is used. They are often served in a spicy broth with vegetables and chicken as a garnish. But they are also sometimes used in Indonesian food pangsit.
  • Price: depending on the dish
  • Vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © I AM CONTRIBUTOR / Shutterstock.com

Tahu Telur

Tahu Telur is a purely vegetarian dish and is a kind of tofu omelette. Eggs, tofu and vegetables are mixed together and fried in a pan with oil. The typical street food dish is traditionally served with peanuts, fresh herbs and a hot sauce.
  • Price: around 2.80 euros / 45,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian
Photo: © Willy Lesmana / Shutterstock.com

Typical desserts and sweets in Indonesia

Pisang Goreng

Anyone who likes baked bananas at the Chinese will love Pisang Goreng! The Classic among Indonesian desserts consists of banana slices or sometimes whole bananas that are dipped in a batter and deep-fried. If you stroll through a night market or pass by street vendors, the baked goods can easily be mistaken for fried meat. If in doubt, just ask.
  • Price: approx. 1 euro / 15,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Bubur Hitam

Admittedly, this Indonesian dessert does take a bit of getting used to. In terms of taste, it will definitely convince you, provided you click Coconut milk and rice pudding stands. Bubur Hitam is black sticky rice that is served in sweetened coconut milk. In markets, the black rice pudding is usually sold in plastic cans. You get the coconut milk in a small bag.
  • Price: around 0.30 euros / 5,000 IDR
  • Not vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © Amallia Eka / Shutterstock.com

It buah

Another dessert from the “takes getting used to” category is Es Buah. This is a kind of Fruit cocktail, which consists of diced fruits. What distinguishes Es Buah from a typical German fruit cocktail are the exotic fruits that are used here, such as honeydew melon, papaya, jackfruit, pumpkin or Kolang Kaling, which has a slippery consistency. The fruits are then filled with a thick, sweet condensed milk and ice cubes.
  • Price: around 0.80 euros / 12,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan (without condensed milk)
Photo: © Adolv Image / Shutterstock.com


The Indonesian version of Raffaello is called Klepon! The small balls consist of a kind of rice cake filled with warm and liquid palm sugar. On the outside, the balls are coated with desiccated coconut. The dough gets its green color from its main ingredient, pandan water. This is obtained from the leaves of the pandan palm.
  • Price: around 0.07 euros / 1,000 IDR for 5 balls
  • Vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Bolu kukus

Bolu Kukus are a type of muffins that, and that is what is special about them, are not baked but rather baked muffled become. This makes them particularly airy and juicy.Bolu Kukus are available in a wide variety of colors, but most are green, pink and / or yellow.
  • Price: approx. 0.20 euros / 2,500 IDR
  • Vegetarian
Photo: © swuerfel / Shutterstock.com


Serbai are little ones pancakesmade from rice flour and coconut milk. Sometimes they can be colored green when pandan water is added. They are served with either coconut blossom syrup or kinca, a sweet, brownish sauce made from coconut milk.
  • Price: around 0.40 euros / 7,000 IDR
  • Vegetarian / vegan
Photo: © Odua Images / Shutterstock.com

Helpful words

Even if you can actually rely on the locals throughout Indonesia to understand and speak English (English is a compulsory subject in Indonesian schools), it can happen that you get stuck with your English. Depending on where you are, the dishes are only excellent in Indonesian. So that you have a rough overview I have put together the most important and helpful Indonesian words for you, which can help you when eating in Indonesia.


  • nasi: rice
  • mie: noodles
  • ayam: chicken
  • ikan: fish
  • tahu: tofu
  • telur: Egg
  • tempe: Tempeh
  • kacang tanah: peanut
  • mie / bihun / bami / bakmi: noodles
  • es: ice cubes
  • air matang: boiled water


  • goreng: fried
  • bakar: grilled
  • rebus: cooked
  • kukus: steamed
  • panas: hot
  • thing: cold
  • tanpa daging: without meat
  • vegetaris: vegetarian
  • jangpan pakai es: without ice

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